Tag Archives: Blues

Quick Artist Profile: Nemes

One of the most unusual bands to come out in the last few years is  Nemes a 5 piece rock/folk band from Worcester, Massachusetts. The band which is led by duel frontmen Dave Anthony (Guitar/Vocals) and Josh Knowles (Violin/Vocals) mixes folk sounds with a more modern rock influence to create a sound is uniquely their own.

I first heard Nemes when they played live in a mall in central mass about three years ago. I bought their EP 865 that day and was blown away especially by the standout track, “Pipe Song.” Since then Nemes have been busy releasing two new recordings the first being 2010’s EP Third Time’s A Charm! And more recently the band released their first full length, Don’t Flush Me which was released in June of 2011. The band has also been on a touring schedule that brought them through Europe and the US.

Be sure to check out Nemes, as their unique sound is something that you do not want to miss out on. The way they mix violin is just awesome, and I guarantee you will like their music!

B. Harlow

Nemes

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Rock And Roll is Back: Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown’s new album, ‘Wild Child’

A common opinion of many music fans is that good old-fashioned rock and roll has gone extinct. To all of these people I would like to say this is not the case especially when it comes to Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown. This band is 100% real rock and roll. Their new album, Wild Child is a testament of real rock and roll’s longevity, and hopefully will kick radio rock bands like Nickelback off the airwaves.

But let’s get down to business and talk about the great record the band has put together. Wild Child starts out with the track “Fools Gold” this track is a great way to start off the album especially with the excellent slide guitar work found throughout the track. The next track is called “Lip Stick Wonderwoman” which is a really bluesy track that moves with a great strut. “Cold Heart” is up next, and this track is a track that’s driven by a tight groove that is held together by the rhythm section of Noah Denny on bass and Caleb Crosby’s drums.  “Say a Prayer” is the single from the album and this is a true piece of rock, and everything a rock single should be. It has a solid groove, is incredible catchy, and has an easy to remember chorus.

The fourth track on the album is called “Downtown Tonight,” and this track has some sweet slide playing with a very tight groove. The next track that caught my attention was the seventh track ”Last one Leaving” which has a very cool vibe and a very sing-able chorus, and gives a vibe that is reminiscent of The Black Keys. “Still Young (Hey Kids)” was up next and this song reminded me a lot of Cheap Trick, but I can’t put my finger on why it reminds me of that particular band.

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown are on pace to be a headlining act. Their album is fantastic especially the bluesy guitar playing of both Bryant and Graham Whitford. Be sure to check these rockers out.

B. Harlow

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Who Is The White Buffalo?

One of my favorite shows is the FX network series, Sons Of Anarchy. On the show’s season finale last year they chose to feature a haunting rendition of the Leadbelly song, “House of The Rising Sun.” The song more closely resembled The Animals cover of the song, but had a very cool   bluesy feel and altered lyrics to fit the story of the show. It was truly one of those songs that fit the show perfectly. What I really wanted to know was, who was behind this awesome rendition. At that moment I stumbled across The White Buffalo.

The White Buffalo is actually the stage name of singer, Jake Smith. Smith has a big voice, and he knows how to use that gift to display tremendous songwriting and storytelling talents. His songs encompass blues, country, folk, and at points straight up rock. What I enjoy about Smith most is his amazing lyrics and singing ability. His songs vary in topic from things such as everyday life, to various outlaw characters. His ability to tell stories through his songs reminds me a lot of Bruce Springsteen.

Smith has put out two full lengths and three EP’s under the White Buffalo moniker. Most recently he put out the full length album, Once Upon A Time in The West. The album consists of thirteen songs, and also produced two singles, “BB Guns And Dirt-bikes” and “Wish It Was True.” The songs on this album take the listener back to when all was good and when vagabonds traveled the countryside, much like Smith’s stage-namesake, the buffalo.

Anyone that likes music would enjoy The White Buffalo. I hope that this man continues on his great path of success.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video for “Wish it Was True” Below:

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Aerosmith Release Their First New Album In 11 Years With, ‘Music From Another Dimension!’

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last month, you know two huge events are happening today. One of these events is the release of Aerosmith’s new studio album, Music From Another Dimension! The other huge ordeal happening is Election Day (Get out and vote!) Yesterday the two combined when Aerosmith played a show on the front stoop of their original apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The rally was to promote voting, but also to promote the new record which I will be focusing on today.

Music From Another Dimension! is Aerosmith’s first album of original material since 2001’s, Just Push Play. Any Aerosmith fan who has been waiting for a new album will not be disappointed with Music From Another Dimension!, but let me say if you were expecting an album like 1976’s, Rocks this is not that. Likewise if you were looking for an album like 1993’s, Get A Grip this is not the album for you. But if you are the third-party that was hoping for an album that encompasses all of Aerosmith’s best features throughout their career, then this new collection of fifteen tracks is for you.

Music From Another Dimension! starts out “LUV XXX” which features a very creepy spoken intro by producer Jack Douglas. But then the drums kick in followed by a very 70’s inspired riff. Steven Tyler’s vocals come in next, but one will notice that not only are they harmonized by Joe Perry, but also by John Lennon’s son, Julian. Coincidentally Jack Douglas was also John Lennon’s producer and one of the last people to see Lennon alive.

The second track on the album is a great song called “Oh Yeah” which is a very Rolling Stones-esque double time number. The song features horns along with loosely played guitars. But what brings the track together are the background singers and the horn section who give the track a certain depth. This track is followed by an odd song called “Beautiful” which is reminiscent of Aerosmith’s 1990’s sound. The track mixes killer riffs, spitting vocals, and sweet melody. This song is nothing like anything I’ve heard before, and the arrangement is very odd especially towards the end when it sounds like a new song altogether.

Next up is the Tom Hamilton penned, “Tell Me” which is one of my favorite songs on the album because it reminds me of The Beatles mixed with Aerosmith’s more ballad oriented material. This is especially true when it comes to the guitar solo and refrains. “Tell Me” is followed by a great track called “Out go The Lights” which is cowbell driven bluesy number featuring a great syncopated riff, and also featured a cool background vocal section. Tyler’s lyrics also great and are filled sexual innuendo and double-entendres. Just when you think the track is about to end, Joey Kramer’s drums come back in and so does Perry’s guitar, and this is when he provides a great syncopated funk driven guitar solo.

“Legendary Child” is up next, and this song starts off with a very cool and unique backwards guitar that goes into a riff that sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin’s “The Wanton Song”. Steven Tyler’s vocals follow, and the song is instantly kicked up a notch. Then the song takes an odd turn when we go to this atmospheric section. This is then interrupted rudely by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s monster riffage. Then another verse that is full of Steven Tyler’s usual witty lyrics kicks in.  This time the band chooses to forego the atmospheric pre-chorus section, and go straight into another chorus. This chorus is then followed by a short guitar break, and then a ripping Joe Perry solo. At the end of Perry’s solo back-masked guitars are moving in and out, and Tyler repetitively sings the song’s title till the song comes to a conclusion. This is one of the best tracks on the record.

Next up is the latest single, “What Could Have Been Love.” Now I have mixed feelings on this song. I love the melody and chorus and I can’t stop listening to the track, but I also think it is a song that was made for radio to sell units.

Whatever wrong doing I found with “What Could Have Been Love” is undone however by the next track, “Street Jesus.”  “Street Jesus” is centered on a bluesy riff by Brad Whitford who had been kicking the lick around for 15 years, but it has finally found a home on this track. To me this song would fit nicely in the bands catalog between the songs “Toys in The Attic” and the great bluesy number, “Rats in The Cellar.” What really makes the song great is how it features excellent guitar work from Whitford.

Next up is the track “Can’t Stop Loving You,” but unlike the other ballads on the album I don’t think this track is throw away track. The beginning starts off with a very Beatles-esque Mellotron intro, but then leads into an acoustic guitar driven section that is accompanied by Kramer’s steady beat. On the chorus Steven Tyler gets harmonized by Carrie Underwood who adds awesome flavor to the track especially when she takes the next verse which also features a lyrical reference to Aerosmith’s 1973 song “Mama Kin.” Underwood takes the next chorus and is nicely harmonized by Tyler. This then leads into a very Beatles-esque breakdown, but then that country flavor comes back in with the final chorus.

“Lover Alot” is the next track, and this song is another straight forward rocker that features grooving guitars and Tyler’s vocal spitting on top of the music. What gets me with this track however is Hamilton’s bass which makes this track sound super tight. He finds the perfect space in between being a rhythmic instrument and a melodic instrument. Something many bass players simply fail at.

The next track that caught my ear was “We All Fall Down” which was penned by Dianne Warren who also wrote the bands hit, “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.”  The song starts off with guitar, orchestra, and piano. Tyler’s vocal seamlessly floats over the top of the song. The chorus then comes in and this is when the song reaches climax especially the third time around.

“Freedom Fighter” is a Joe Perry penned song and it is also sung by the guitarist. This song is not bad or good it’s just kind of there. “Closer” follows “Freedom Fighter,” and I have to say that it is another filler track that I didn’t really enjoy.

Now interestingly enough one of my favorite tracks on the album is the very James Bond-esque Perry written track, “Something.” This track is a real rocker and features great swaggering guitar parts that sound awesome. Perry’s vocals also sound good on this track something that has always been a give or take thing for him.

The Album concludes with the song “Another Last Goodbye” which is actually a ballad I enjoyed. The track which was written by Tyler, Perry, and Desmond Child is actually the perfect mellow way to conclude the album.

Music From Another Dimension! is a great album with fifteen tracks worth of solid Aerosmith material, and now it’s time for you to make your judgement. Go out and get this album, and see why I am thrilled with it. Aerosmith delivered now it’s our time to receive.

-B. Harlow

 

 

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Quick Artist Profile: High on Fire

One of my favorite bands is High on Fire who are a Oakland, CA based three-piece. The band was formed by vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel, and bassist George Rice who was later replaced by Jeff Matz. Pike was also a founding member of the legendary stoner metal band, Sleep whom he has released five albums with between 1990 and 2003. But luckily for High on Fire fans, Pike’s efforts lately have focused on High on Fire.

The band which has been together since 1998 has released six albums the latest being 2012’s, De Vermis Mysteriis. The band’s first big release was 2001’s, Surrounded by Thieves which was an excellent record released on Relapse Records. This was followed in 2005 by the album, Blessed Black Wings. This album features one of my favorite High on Fire tracks, “The Face of Oblivion” which sounds a lot like Mastodon mixed with thrash giants, Machine Head. 2007’s Death is This Communion, featured some awesome tracks one of my favorites is “Dii” which is an acoustic intro that leads into the great track, “Cyclopian Scape.” Another key track on that album was the epic, “Rumors of War” which is definitely one of the band’s best songs.

In 2010 the band released their album, Snakes For The Devine.  Production was up a notch on this record, this was largely due to the talent of legendary producer, Greg Fidelman. The album features great tracks such as “Frost Hammer” and the title track, “Snakes For The Devine.” De Vermis Mysteriis was released this year, and is a great album and an excellent follow-up to 2010’s, Snakes For The Devine. The band’s sounds the same though, remaining endlessly sludgy just like their first release, but with obviously better production quality.  

B. Harlow

 

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West End Motel Release New Song, “Burn it Down”

Musicians are notorious for a couple of things. One of these things are side-projects. Some side projects are just god awful, but some just work. A clear example of this is Brent Hinds of Mastodon’s side project West End Motel which is a great combination of country, western, rock, and soul. The band which was formed sometime around 2002 recorded some songs over a period of seven-year, but disbanded as  Tom Cheshire and Hinds both had very busy schedules. But In 2009, the band reunited along with the addition Mike Shina for a one-off as a band called, County Hell. Instead of County Hell being a onetime only thing it truthfully re-launched West End Motel. The band recently released a track entitled “Burn It Down” which will appear on the band’s new album, Only Time Can Tell, which will be out October 30th.

“Burn it Down” is truly a great track that really emphasizes a very soul and groove oriented vibe. The song starts out with a clear sample, but this leads into a very soulful country riff. The vocals then come in with the refrain. The refrain ends quickly, and this is where you hear Hind’s uniquely nasally vocal which is doubled to give it a cool echo effect. I also enjoyed the awesome horns and walking bass lines that are prominent throughout the track. The real highlight of the song however is Hind’s guitar solo which is mixed very dominantly.

This band is great, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of their new material when it comes out later this fall. Make sure you give it a listen. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

-B. Harlow

Check out to the song  which is streaming  HERE

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Mumford & Son’s Sophomore Album, ‘Babel’ is Finally Here

The date September 25th couldn’t have come soon enough for fans of the English folk-rock band, Mumford and Sons. But now the day has past, and it has left behind the band’s new album, Babel. After a performance of “I Willl Wait” and “Below My Feet” on the September 22nd  episode of Saturday Night Live, Babel quickly became the most talked about of the releases this week.  The album which consists of twelve tracks truthfully lives up to the hype that has been generated behind it.

The album opens up with the title track; “Babel” this song is a very upbeat banjo and guitar driven song with great dynamics in tempo. The Next track is entitled “Whispers in The Dark” this track to me was very well composed, and takes a very simple arrangement and makes it work. The third track on the album is the single, “I Will Wait.”  The guitars and banjo seem to mix together really well on this track. They only tweak I think could make the song better is if they moved the piano up in the mix more, it would have given the song a lot more movement. Vocally the song is very impressive, and contains many soaring vocals, but also many smooth parts.

“Holland Road” is the fourth track on the album, and to be truthful I think this is one of the best songs Mumford & Sons have written. The lyrics and the music throughout the song bring the listener on a journey that leads to a horn interlude that is placed perfectly in the song. This gets echoed nicely by the vocals.

“Ghosts That We Knew” is up next, and this song is very calm and less country sounding than the majority of the album. It starts with just vocals and guitar. Eventually the piano comes in with a section of harmonized vocals. This is followed by the introduction of a tenderly plucked banjo that gives nice movement to the track.  The musical arrangement of the song really helps to emphasize the lyrics and melodic structure of the song.

“Lover of Light” is next up on the album, but I wasn’t really impressed by the song as I felt it was to reminiscent of the band’s debut release.  However I did enjoy the simplistic banjo solo. The next track to take note of is the eighth track, “Reminder” which is a very melancholy number which is very simple with just vocals accompanied by guitar. The song is short but sweet, but this makes it a nice change of pace.

The next song is entitled “Hopeless Wanderer.” Lyrically this track is one of my favorites, but it is the clear emphasis on the piano that makes me really enjoy the track. It feels throughout the track as if the banjo and guitar were only there to emphasize the piano. This changes around the 3:30 mark when the banjo takes over the track.

“Broken Crown” follows, and to me has one of the nicest finger picked acoustic intros. The vocals come in next. Soon this builds and the piano and banjo join the mix, but they are not so far up in the mix that it brings down the very subdued feel of the song. This changes around the halfway when the music builds into a great section. Again this track plays with the band’s awesome ability to get soft and then loud again.

The second to last song on the album is the track, “Below My Feet.” This song is a very haunting, and plays with the traditional Mumford and Sons formula. The vocal harmonies on the track though are fantastic and add a depth to track, as does the random Pete Townsend-esque electric guitar.  “Not With Haste” closes the album, and I have to say that it did not disappoint in terms of closing the album, as it was a nice reflective piece of music that really pulls the album together.

Although very similar to their debut release, Mumford & Sons have put together an album that I’m sure will keep them out of the sophomore slump. This is a fantastic album, and a candidate for the best album of the year.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video For The Song, “I Will Wait” Below:

 

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Bob Dylan Releases New Album, ‘Tempest’

Bob Dylan is an American icon, regardless of the generation Dylan’s music speaks to people. To this day he continues to produce music that speaks to the masses, and continues to tour which is amazing for being 71. Last week Dylan put out his latest album, and I have to say I’m very impressed with this collection of ten tracks.

The album starts out with the impressive “Duquesne Whistle” a gritty blues number that Dylan wrote with Robert Hunter whom also wrote and performed with the late, Jerry Garcia. The track which runs at almost six minutes starts with guitar which then gets double by piano. It really starts to pick up when the drums and walking bass line kick in. Then Dylan’s soulful and gravely vocal comes in. Next up is the track, “Soon After Midnight” which is a slower song that lyrically is great, but musically kind of boring. The next track on the record is a real rocker, and entitled, “Narrow Way.” The track is a fast blues, but you definitely get more of an early rock and roll feel. I enjoyed the track, but at seven minutes it got a bit repetitive. “Long and Wasted” years is up next, and to me it was one of the most enjoyable tracks due to the story telling nature and the way the track just had that very easy groove.

“Pay in Blood” is the fifth track on the album and to me this sounds like a Keith Richards penned Stones song. The piano and guitar groove very much like something Richards would pen, but the vocals throughout are uniquely Bob Dylan. Again, Dylan finds himself telling another enjoyable story that is much like a soap opera with the lines “You got the same eyes that your mother does/If only you could prove who your father was.” This story telling aspect and the very Rolling Stone’s like vibe makes this one of my favorite songs on the record.

Next up we find the track, “Scarlet Town” this is also another track where Dylan shows his tremendous story telling abilities. It is truly a haunting tune driven by banjo and a haunting violin played by David Hidalgo.

After listening to the great slab of work that was “Scarlet Town,” I found myself very disappointed by the next track entitled “Early Roman Kings” which musically is a clear rip off of a Muddy Waters riff, with only some added accordion and keyboards to make it sound different. This track was followed up by another track called “Tin Angel” which is driven by a small band and a prominent fretless bass that sounds magnificent and emphasizes the dramatic nature of Dylan’s lyrics.

The title track, “Tempest” follows “Tin Angel,” and to me this is an epic song about the sinking of the Titanic. Dylan’s imagery is just magnificent, and unlike most people who portray the sinking, he does not candy coat it.

The final track on the album is entitled “Roll on John,” and is a tribute to John Lennon. The song starts off with a nice progression, and leads into a verse that tells the story of John Lennon from The Quarrymen to the sudden fame of the Beatles. Dylan also makes numerous references to Lennon’s own words when he sings lyrics that came from Beatle’s classics, “Come Together” and “A Day in The Life.” The song is truly an amazing tribute to a great musician and friend.

Tempest is an amazing piece of work by Dylan. Musically Bob Dylan is on par with his best material, but when it comes to lyrics, you can see why some refer to him more as a poet than a musician.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Bob Dylan’s music video for “Duquesne Whistle” Below:

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Quick Artist Profile: Feist

I first heard Feist when I listened to the Feistodon single where she and the Atlanta-based prog quartet switched songs. Since then I looked more into her music, and I have to say I’m very impressed with her overall songwriting skills and amazing vocal ability. To be so aggressive vocally yet come across smoothly is a talent that not many people have. This talent can be seen throughout her catalogue of solo material and with her former band, Broken Social Scene.

Feist started her music career at age 15, playing in local venues around her hometown of Calgary. After a period Feist moved to Toronto and fronted/played guitar in a couple of bands. In 1999 she released her first solo record, Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down). Shortly after this she joined the group, Broken Social Scene which she rotated in and out of for a period. In 2004 she released, Let it Die. She toured behind Let it Die for three years receiving numerous awards, and in 2006 entered a studio where she recorded, The Reminder, which features one of her best songs, “1234.” In 2011, Feist continued on with her solo releases with the ironically titled, Metals.

Feist is such a talent that I feel I was lucky enough to stumble upon. Her music is so unique and vintage sounding, yet uniquely modern which leaves the listener up for a real treat.

-B. Harlow

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Who is LP?

LP is a singer/songwriter from New York whom has recently found success in the underground, and whom is gradually working her way up to the mainstream. After finding herself in the midst of differences with major labels she’s built up a new stripped down sound that her fans enjoy, and is much different from the songs she wrote for Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Heidi Montag. Although she says writing for such diverse artists was like attending a songwriting boot-camp.

Whether it is with her band, or just standing in the street with a ukulele L.P. impresses. But what is it about LP that stands out? To me it’s her stellar voice mixed with a killer band. To me LP’s sound makes even the best musician turn around due to the power in her voice. Take her hit, “Into The Wild” her voice on this track goes from mellow and smooth, but when the chorus comes around her raw power comes out, and quite frankly stuns the listener. She has taken the influences of many musicians, and has turned that into her own wonderful identity, which includes incredible songwriting skills which mix pop and folk effortlessly.

Check Out LP’s music! Whether you’re a fan of Rock, pop, folk, or blues she’ll open your ears to something new and interesting, like something you’ve never heard before.

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Song “Into The Wild” Performed Live Below:

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